Citylets have released their Scottish rental market overview for Q1 2021, reporting on the trends from the rental sector since the beginning of the year.

Edinburgh has suffered more than most Scottish cities

Tenant demand in Scotland has been mixed. In some areas, demand for rental properties has increased as tenants have adjusted their living arrangements to satisfy their post-COVID living plans; whether that be moving house for more working space or for access to open space. Edinburgh has suffered more than most cities in the country due to its status as an international city to work, study and visit. The exodus of students over the past 12 months has had a significant impact on demand for larger rental homes while a lack of tourists has impacted smaller properties.


Average rents in Edinburgh fall

While rents in Scotland as a whole rose in Q1 (up 1.8% Year On Year), Edinburgh saw a drop of 6.9%. Larger properties saw the biggest fall in rents with 4 bedroom properties down almost a fifth on where they were at the same time in 2020 (down 17%) due to a lack of students in the city. Smaller properties weren’t immune with 1 bedroom rents down by 4.4% and 2 beds down 5.2% YOY impacted by an increase of properties coming over from the short term market as a consequence of the lack of tourists in the city, thus increasing supply and driving rents down.


Time to Let reached unusually high levels

Looking at Time To Let (TTL), the length of time to secure a tenant stretched out in Q1, with only a third of properties letting within the first month of advertising. The average TTL was 46 days, 14 days longer than the same time last year. Only 11% of properties let within the first week of being advertised, a lot lower than we’ve seen in the past when the Edinburgh market has been at its hottest.


A return to more normal levels is on the horizon

As we concluded in our May rental market update, we expect a more positive trend to develop as we move into the summer months, with students and visitors slowly returning to Edinburgh and a more balanced rental market returning; allowing TTLs to fall and rents to move closer to pre-COVID levels.